We have just started a new project in Durham that we are very excited about! The ultimate goal is a net-zero home. "Net Zero" Energy building is a growing trend. With the rising costs of traditional fossil fuels as well as the increasing interest in the environment a home that can function autonomously from the energy grid supply is an attractive option. Given current costs of photovoltaics a true "Net zero" building can be an expensive and complicated endeavor. Many homeowners are instead opting for a "near-zero" home. A "near-zero" home is a home that uses very little energy and takes advantage of many energy efficient building techniques.In this case, the home will be prepped to be connected to photovoltaics down the road when the costs come down. This project will feature a geothermal heat pump and HVAC unit provided by heating and cooling service in Toronto, hydronic radiant heat concrete floors, open cell spray foam insulation, closed cell exterior rigid foam insulation, closed cell spray foam insulated roofing, a passive solar design and energy star program appliances. We are excited to be starting this project. Having a gorgeous wooded site to build on isn't bad either!
Excavation for the tank is complete and now we have begun setting the tank in to the hole. As you can see this is a large 3500 gallon tank.
To give you an idea of how much water that is, an average garden hose without a nozzle can pour out 530 gallons of water in an hour. It would take almost seven hours to fill this tank with a hose, but filling this underground water retention tank with rain from a 3600 square foot roof can happen quickly in a big rain.
We're excited about a new project in Chapel Hill. A few years ago, we installed a new kitchen for this homeowner, who had purchased a beautiful property close to the University of North Carolina, and surrounded by a large protected natural area. The home was built in the 1950's, and has a large, and essentially flat roof. With no attic there is little room for insulation. The first issue, however, was that the walls needed insulation. We teamed up with Carolina Foam Inc out of Dunn, NC who bored quarter size holes through the wood siding in each stud bay, and blew in expansive foam insulation. With the success of the wall insulation, the homeowner started asking about the option of using a foam product on their roof. Having been thinking about how to get a roofing quote in Orland Park IL and replace their leaking roof, and improve their insulation, the foam option made a lot of sense. Having done similar applications on numerous commercial buildings, Carolina Foam suggested two one inch layers of a closed cell spray on foam product called Endura Tech. On top of the foam, they applied two 15 mil coats of an acrylic poly-urethane rubber roof coating. One of the surprising aspects of this option was it's affordability. It was comparably priced to installing a more traditional TPO membrane - but had the distinct advantage of adding a considerable R-value! Once the system was agreed on, we got started. Roofing contractor in blaine minnesota tores off the existing built up asphalt roofing, and repaired several roof deck board. As soon as the weather allowed, Carolina Foam got started. In no time, the sprayed on foam roof was complete. This picture shows the roof with the second coat of foam on and 1/2 of the acrylic polyurethane (gray) applied. With the roof work complete, we were able to start focusing on the rest of the project. One of the plans was to install a spiral staircase from a newly built deck, to the roof of the existing carport. Why would you need a staircase to get up on your roof? Well, you need easy access if you're planning on installing a "green" or "living" roof. A living roof is generally any roof of a building that features a waterproof membrane and soil. That soil is then used to cultivate vegetation. The vegetation can vary from ornamental shrubs and trees to vegetable gardens to a simple grassy area. The living roof not only adds green space to an area that might be lacking but it also provides an added layer of insulation. That extra layer of insulation can help cut back on both heating and cooling costs. If you plan to add almost 3,000 square feet of dirt, plants, and water to make a green space up on your South facing roof you need to plan a few things out! First of all, we were lucky, and the homeowner had an original set of blue prints - showing the spans and dimensions of the framing used in the roof construction. That combined with a consult from a local structural engineer gave us the confidence that the roof could handle the added load. Another consideration was how to keep all that roof vegetation sufficiently watered..... not to mention having to plan on a significant increase to your water bill, right? Not if you plan on installing a rainwater retention system! So a plan was devised to install an underground tank to harvest rain drained from the roof. That same water will then be pumped back up to the roof into drip irrigation lines to water the roof garden (learn more). First things first. Deciding on how to retain the runoff from the roof. A 3600 square foot roof can drain a whole lot of water! Trying to figure out the best way to retain that water underground wasn't easy. We looked at a variety of options......including pre-formed plastic cisterns, free form tanks built with plastic forms and a heavy duty rubber membrane, and precast concrete cisterns. Ultimately it ended up that installing a standard concrete septic tank with dual ports and inlets was both the easiest, quickest and most cost effective option. Excavation has now begun! It takes a big hole to set a 3500 gallon water retention tank.
This will be an exciting project to follow! Learn more from Atlanta Water Damage Pro.
Last night we had the pleasure of attending the launch party for Clean Energy Durham's "2030 Society." Clean Energy Durham is an amazing grass-roots organization made up of volunteers committed to learning about saving energy and teaching their neighbors how to do the same. They recently contacted Synergy and asked if we would be interested in becoming founding members of their "2030 Society." The 2030 Society is committed to reducing green house gas emissions by 30% (from the year 2005) by the year 2030. After watching this quick video we really couldn't imagine not getting involved. We look forward to learning from the volunteers and staff members at Clean Energy Durham and sharing what we learn here.
Anyone interested in Solar? This article makes a good argument that if you're thinking of installing either a solar water heating system, or a residential photovoltaic electric generating solar system, that the time to act is now! Take a look.